Communication Competencies

The TASC–ASL requires you to demonstrate five communication competencies by responding to questions designed to elicit a range of communication levels. The categories of questions reflect different levels of language use that are required to communicate in informal and formal situations. For example, a person would likely use a higher, more sophisticated level of language to support an opinion than to describe something. By guiding you through these broad levels of communication, the interviewer is providing you with opportunities to demonstrate your best signing skills.


There are five types of communication competencies in the TASC–ASL.

  • Describe: The purpose of questions and prompts associated with this communication competency is to elicit descriptive conversation from you. Questions and prompts ask you to describe to the interviewer familiar activities, events, etc.
  • Instruct: This communication competency focuses on “how to” questions and prompts. You are asked to tell the interviewer the procedures or steps involved in various activities.
  • Hypothesize: For this communication competency, you are asked to project what would happen if a particular event were to occur.
  • Problem Solve: Questions and prompts associated with this competency require you to imagine a situation and communicate how you might solve the problem posed by that situation.
  • Supported Opinion: This competency requires you to take a position on one or more of a variety of topics and then support that position. The topics are selected to be general and noncontroversial. The goal is to allow you to express and support your opinion. Use your communication skills to be as persuasive as you can.

Demonstrating the five communication competencies requires the use of a range of levels of signing proficiency. For example, it is generally the case that a higher, more sophisticated level of signing is required to support an opinion than is required to describe something.

IMPORTANT: Your proficiency will not be rated based on the actual content of your responses but rather on your ability to communicate your ideas by signing in American Sign Language. To give your best performance, it is important that you respond fully to the interviewer’s questions and prompts — elaborating, clarifying and commenting when appropriate, just as you would in regular conversation.